WASHINGTON, DC – Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement after passage today of the Paul Wellstone-Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act:
“In passing the Paul Wellstone-Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act today we are one step closer to ending a blatant injustice that exists within our nation’s health care system - discrimination against patients seeking treatment for mental illnesses. For far too long, millions of Americans who need mental health care have been denied access to treatment, often with tragic results.
“This bipartisan bill is an important and necessary measure to ensure that the roughly 54 million Americans who suffer from mental illness are not subjected to higher costs or treatment limitations. And, it is absolutely essential to uphold our nation’s commitment to the protection of rights for all citizens, regardless of illness or health condition.
“I commend Congressmen Kennedy and Ramstad for their tireless commitment to this legislation. Our action today is also in tribute to the legacy of Senator Paul Wellstone and the work of all those who have advocated on behalf of mental health parity.
“I am also pleased that we have passed a bill that keeps with our commitment to fiscal responsibility. With Senate passage and the President’s signature, we will -once and for all- end the unwarranted discrimination against citizens in need of mental health care.”